By most accounts, when the season starts on December 26th for the Sixers, Jodie Meeks will be the starting shooting guard.
Here we go again. The season hasn’t even started and we’re starting the “Evan Turner is a bust story,” again. Without even a pre-season game.
Take a deep breath. I know you’re wound up because the Phillies didn’t win the World Series and the Eagles are going to have to go on an unheard of winning streak just to finish at .500. I know you’ve heard a lot from the Sixers owners about changes, and so far you’ve only seen a moose, some broadway lights, and lower ticket prices while the Clippers of all people are trading for Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will be available. And through all of this, the least you’d like is for the #2 pick in last year’s draft to start.
I still think it’ll happen. Just not now. And I think the reasoning is sound.
If you’ll remember correctly, the Sixers started playing well when Jodie Meeks became the starting shooting guard. His ability to hit three-point shots, intuitiveness to get to those spots, and his energy (though probably not a ton of skill) on defense kept him in games. It spaced the floor for the team, and gave the offense, who doesn’t really have an a natural scorer besides Lou Williams, some room to breathe and operate.
The advantage the Sixers have at this point is that their team is the same as last year’s. With short training camps, and free-agents and trades coming so close to the season, many teams will just be figuring out how to play with each other. While the Sixers have a chance to hit the ground running and steal some games. That 3-13 start from last year can become a distant memory with a 10-6 start this season. That’s got a better shot of happening with everyone in the same roles as last season.
Does that slow Turner’s growth in particular for the time-being? Maybe. But winning games and getting these guys feeling good about themselves is a worthy reason for it. The Sixers made a clear choice to win games while growing their young players by keeping Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand for this season. You may disagree with that strategy, but that’s a different discussion all together. If you’re trying to win, this gives you the best chance to win.
Turner has worked on his jump shot, and by all accounts it is improved. I think that ability along with general improvements in his game will eventually make him the starter. Probably sooner rather than later. Just not now.
By the way, a Sixers side note. You may have heard that Kate Fagan has left the Inquirer to write for ESPN. Though she’ll write about many different things for them, she’s decided to keep up Sixers coverage “for fun.” That’s what I like to hear. You can check out Kate’s Sixers blog at bykatefagan.com. She explains the Meeks & Turner issue in very X’s and O’x, basketball language HERE.
I also talked about this very issue on Lunch Break with Rhea Hughes. Watch below: